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Monday, February 16, 2009

Taking a Bite out of Fur in the Big Apple

This morning, during the height of New York’s Fashion Week, I led a press conference in Bryant Park to announce the results of a new HSUS investigation uncovering more deception in the fur fashion industry. Joined by New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), Pierre Grzybowski of The HSUS’s fur-free campaign, and John Phillips of the New York League of Humane Voters, I told reporters and the public that some of the largest department stores in New York—including Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue—have been selling unlabeled fur-trimmed garments in violation of state law.

281x210_fur_trim_on_jacket New York’s state legislature overwhelmingly passed a law in 2007, backed by HSUS and HSLF and authored by Rosenthal and Senator Frank Padavan (R-Queens), requiring retailers to label all fur garments so that shoppers can have access to important product information. Yet, more than a year after the law took effect, entire racks of unlabeled fur-trimmed jackets are still being sold in New York. HSUS investigators and Assemblymember Rosenthal visited several stores in Manhattan to determine whether they were in compliance with the labeling law, and were even told by sales clerks that unlabeled coats trimmed with animal fur were “fake.”

Federal law requires most fur apparel to be accurately labeled, but has a gaping loophole for garments that contain $150 or less worth of fur. A series of HSUS investigations has found that fur-trimmed jackets are being falsely advertised as “fake” and mislabeled as the wrong species of animal—when they may contain fur from domestic dogs or raccoon dogs skinned alive in China. While Congress considers legislation to close the federal loophole, several states like Delaware and New York have taken action to give their consumers extra protection, and other states like Maryland and New Jersey are considering similar bills.

Watch this new video to see the latest investigation into fraudulent fur selling. Then speak out and tell your state and federal legislators that animals and consumers need stronger laws on the books, as well as stronger enforcement of those laws. It’s time for retailers to stop pulling the fur over shoppers’ eyes.

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